GA 1739: a monk, his manuscript and the text of Paul's Letters
Peterson, Jacob Wayne
Housed in the library of the Lavra Monastery on Mount Athos with the shelf number Bʹ 64  is Gregory-Aland 1739, a tenth-century manuscript containing the Acts of the Apostles, Catholic Epistles, and the Pauline Epistles. The manuscript has long been recognized as having a text of exceptional significance, though scholarly consensus about its relationship to the rest of the textual transmission in the Pauline Epistles has recently been challenged. The traditional view has been that 1739 is a ‘proto-Alexandrian’ text joining the other well-known manuscript Papyrus 46 (β 46) and Codex Vaticanus (03). A newer study suggests that, while still an early text, 1739 is more closely associated with a different branch of the tradition, ranging from the early Alexandrians Codex Sinaiticus (01), Codex Alexandrinus (02), and Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus (04) to later stages of the text’s development toward the Byzantine text-form. Accordingly, the central focus of the study is to determine what kind of manuscript is 1739 in terms of the manuscripts with which it most closely aligns. The results of this initial inquiry allow some brief comments on the textual history of the Pauline Epistles. After an introduction to the well-known scribe of this manuscript, Ephraim, and the codex he produced, this thesis attempts to resolve the scholarly debate. By expanding the scope of Pauline letters under consideration beyond what has previously been studied, this study seeks a more comprehensive investigation of the problem. Through a collation of eight additional representative manuscripts and the Byzantine text-form, the overall similarity between each manuscript and 1739 was initially calculated. This was followed by a survey of the special agreements between the manuscripts, and, finally, an inquiry as to whether any of these special agreements constituted indicative errors. The results of these three levels of investigation in six Pauline Epistles revealed that both positions about the textual affiliations of 1739 proved to be right depending on the epistle being studied. While 1739 was found to still be an excellent witness of the early text of Paul’s letters, this finding about its affiliations suggests that the earliest period of the transmission of the Pauline Epistles is, perhaps, much more complicated than previously thought. This ultimately has ramifications for how future work on the Pauline text should be conducted.